Development, Wellbeing and Perceptions of the ‘Expert’ in Ladakh, North-West India
Anthropology in Action
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Berghahn Journals.
In Ladakh, north-west India, a popular narrative of the region’s inhabitants as spiritually and ecologically enlightened combines with national sustainable and participatory development policies to produce a distinctive character that underpins the local administration’s development strategies. These strategies emphasise ‘traditional’ values of cooperation, simplicity, ecological harmony, and spiritual harmony as the way to achieve culturally sustainable development and emotional wellbeing. However, obstacles to development appear when normative principles of sustainability and ecological wisdom encounter cosmology, hierarchy, and perceptions of expertise in society. In this article I reflect upon my fieldwork and previous regional ethnographies to consider possible frameworks for evaluating wellbeing as an indicator of culturally sustainable development that include concepts of cosmology and expert protection.
The research for this article was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Fredrick Williamson Memorial Fund. I would like to thank the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council and Leh’s NGOs, who generously shared their time and information with me. Thanks also to the TATA Institute of Social Science and for allowing me to observe Micro-Level Planning workshops in 2010 and for giving me access to their preliminary reports.
Awaiting citation and DOI